Letter of Explanation - Canada

Letter of Explanation - Canada

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Do you know what a Letter of Explanation to Canada can do for your study permit? If not, read on and learn what, why, and how of a Letter of Explanation to Canada with a sample.

Rohit Gidwani
Updated on:  21 Oct 2023  | Reviewed By: 
| 7.42K | 9  min read

As an international student in Canada, you must provide accurate information and give the necessary elaboration of facts to the Immigration, Refugees & Citizenship Canada (IRCC). Also, at times you need to re-send the information again to the officer to be considered since the visa officer may miss key facts related to your application.


For all these, communicating with the immigration officers is crucial, for which a letter of explanation (LoE) helps. A letter of explanation is useful at multiple stages of your study in Canada, right from when you apply for a student visa to extend your visa validity.


What is a letter of explanation?

A letter of explanation or an explanation letter is a personal statement you prepare in a letter format and attach when you apply for a Study Permit from Immigration, Refugees & Citizenship Canada (IRCC). It can be made for multiple purposes: requesting a study permit extension, post-graduation work permit, regarding a missing document, highlighting your achievements, or any other favor you need from the IRCC. 

The intention of preparing an explanation letter is to help the visa officer understand your situation better and let them consider your special circumstances before making a final decision with your study permit application. 

Is an explanation letter necessary?

Generally, an explanation letter is not a mandatory document for your Study Permit application to the IRCC. However, it doesn’t mean a letter of explanation won’t be helpful. In some situations, an explanation letter can remove bottlenecks in the application process. 

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Why do you need a letter of explanation?

At times, there can be questionable facts that need further clarification. A letter of explanation can be useful at those times to justify your part for the authorities. For example, if your Study Permit application is rejected for academic reasons, you can submit a letter of explanation and request a revoke. 

Given below are the benefits of a letter of explanation in your communication with the IRCC:

  • list items Provide additional information
  • list items Highlight useful information
  • list items Point out expired documents or missing documents
  • list items Raise a special request unique to your case 
  • list items Give clarifications or responses to the officer’s concerns
  • list items Request a longer time to complete course
  • list items Give an explanation on gap years if your visa is rejected due to that
  • list items Give reasons for changing the study program repeatedly
  • list items Explain why you take up unauthorized work in Canada
  • list items Give details on part-time enrollment to study
  • list items Explains issues of non-compliance with the terms and conditions applicable to you

Where to add a letter of explanation?

When you apply for a student visa, there will be multiple sections to upload the documents. You have the option of adding only one PDF file (of 4 MB) per section. So, if you want to add an LoE, upload it as part of the PDF itself. 

For example, if you want to highlight your academic performance, add the LoE in the PDF, where you will upload other academic documents. 

The LoE must be on the first page of the PDF to get the visa officer’s attention before looking into other documents. 


How to write a letter of explanation?

While writing a letter of explanation, be mindful of the following: 

  • list items Be clear in your explanation. Ensure your words help the officer understand your situation better
  • list items Be positive in tone, even if the letter addresses an issue. You can also express your positive outlook regarding studying in Canada 
  • list items If the purpose of writing is long, divide it under proper topics
  • list items Ensure there are no grammatical or spelling errors. Do not use slang, abbreviations, and unnecessary capitalization
  • list items Add a timeline in your letter to help the officer understand your situation better:  Order of issues/facts you want to explain Dates of past academic study Your attempts to resolve the issue Results of your attempts
  • list items Order of issues/facts you want to explain
  • list items Dates of past academic study
  • list items Your attempts to resolve the issue
  • list items Results of your attempts

If necessary, you must attach additional documents under Optional Client Information. 

Points that a letter of explanation should cover

A letter of explanation must answer questions regarding the personal, academic, and financial details of a student. Typically, the following are included within a letter of explanation: 

  • list items Your address
  • list items Reasons for choosing Canada to study
  • list items Details of the college and course
  • list items Reasons for choosing the particular institution and course of study
  • list items Explaining why not the home country for the same course
  • list items Travel background
  • list items Work experience, including internships
  • list items Explanations for how the work experience relates to the current program of study
  • list items Academic performance in the past, including details of backlogs
  • list items Demonstrations for how the study and work experience are connected
  • list items Details of financing your study in Canada
  • list items Motivation to return to your home country once the study is completed

Explanation letter format

The format of a letter of explanation can vary, depending on your purpose. Ideally, an LoE should be only 1 - 2 page long that directly addresses the issues. The word count can be of 1,500 - 

The following format can be followed to raise the issues or concerns to the authority:


Sample of a letter of explanation

Here is a sample letter of explanation that requests the visa officer to re-consider a rejected application.

Requesting to approve the student visa application

01 May 2023

VIA IRCC Online Portal

Application for Canadian Study Permit

AABBCC (Candidate Name)


To whom it may concern, 

I am honored to introduce myself as AABBCC who is an enthusiastic management student with key skills in strategy planning and time management. I have been accepted to the Master of Business Administration program at the Rotman School of Management, the University of Toronto, Ontario and the course commences on 14 June 2023. Unfortunately, my previous visa application was rejected due to not fulfilling the IRPA and IRPR conditions based on the following reason:

Purpose of visit to Canada is inconsistent with a temporary stay according to the details you have provided in your application.

I, therefore, would like to show my true candidacy through this letter of explanation which will allow me to disclose my future plans and intention to return to my home country post studies. 

Motivation to pursue the program

The compelling factor for me to study at the University of Toronto is a set of top instructors there, Professor Alexander Dyke. I have been following Professor Alexander Dyke's works on Economic Analysis and Policy for the last two years and took inspiration from him to write a thesis for my undergraduate. I have always admired his works, so I wish to pursue my studies at the University of Toronto with Professor Dyke's guidance. 

Why Canada and not India?

Canada is the top-notch destination for prime academics with world class pedagogical practices that is far ahead of present day teaching practices. The land of maple trees houses top universities which never compromise ranking on QS World University Rankings and other prominent university rankings. An English-speaking country with excellent academic prospects was my prime concern for which Canada is the perfect option matching my budget. Canada opens its arms for international students and multiculturalism is the backbone of Canadian culture, which will not be available in India. In India the education system is highly theory oriented and less flexible with modern practice-oriented approaches that are followed in Canada. 

Future goals

My future goals include serving my nation with the management expertise I gain throughout my life. I want to work in top governmental positions in India after graduating from Canada. As a philanthropist who dreams of a better world with fast-paced development, I am confident that the University of Toronto will give me the best international exposure and prime opportunities to learn to elevate my existing knowledge and enthusiasm for managing public investment in development. An MBA will enable me to work in top governmental or international organizations in India where public investment can significantly benefit the developing nation's welfare.

Financial resources

I have enough financial resources to sponsor my studies at the University of Toronto. My financial source is an education loan from a prominent Indian bank named SBI, through which I will get 1,66,357 CAD. Please see the attached cover letter to prove my funding source. 

Ties to home country

I want to establish myself in India as a successful manager serving society. During and after my graduation in Business Administration, I have done internships in organizations dealing with finances for the welfare of society. I plan to spend my career in India and my retired life on ancestral land I will inherit from my parents. An MBA from the University of Toronto will assist me in getting a top job in India. Please look into the internship certificates attached to this application. 

I acknowledge that I understand my responsibilities as a study permit holder in Canada. I confirm I will leave the country after my authorized stay.

Thank you for considering my application. 



A letter of explanation can help students with the immigration process in Canada, providing applicants with the opportunity to give explanations, clarify any discrepancies, and demonstrate their eligibility for immigration. A letter of explanation will help you improve your chances of admission to an academic institution in Canada. 

Refer to the template and sample we provided and learn how to write a Letter of Explanation and prepare one so that you will feel more confident while applying. 

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However, often students miss out on exploring the benefits of a letter of explanation, thinking that their application is perfect. We advise you to take expert opinions before finalizing your documents for a Study Permit and enhance the application strength. For a comprehensive support for your application, book a 30-minute call with our expert admission counselor, who will guide you through the process. 

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Frequently asked questions

Does the LoE need to be notarized?

The letter of explanation need not be notarized, but your signature is mandatory since you are the one writing it. 

Do I need a letter of explanation for a Study Permit to Canada?

A Letter of Explanation is not a necessary document to get a Study Permit in typical situations. However, a letter of explanation can enhance your chances of getting a Study Permit amidst numerous applications. 

What is meant by the letter of explanation (LoE) for a visitor visa to Canada?

A letter of explanation for a visitor visa to Canada is a formal request to reconsider your refused visitor visa application to Canada. Like in other cases where an LoE is relevant, you can add an LoE while applying for a visitor visa to enhance your chances of approval.

Can a letter of explanation be accepted by the IRCC?

A letter of explanation increases your chances of getting acceptance but does not guarantee it. An LoE clarifies your situation for the IRCC, who will probe into the issue to decide further. 

What is the difference between a letter of explanation (LoE) and a statement of purpose (SOP)?

While a letter of explanation explains a variety of situations to address the visa related concerns, a statement of purpose is mainly an academic document that addresses the student’s motivation to select a particular course at a particular institution. 

How can a letter of explanation help after refusal of the visa to Canada?

If your visa application is rejected, you can write a letter of explanation, countering the reasons for your cisa rejection and showing your true candidacy for the student visa. See the sample for more details.

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